What on earth are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant which is a member of the mint family grown in Central and South America. Ancient Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a source of energy, so we’re told – and it’s pretty easy to see why. These tiny seeds pack a powerful punch in the nutrient department!
What’s the big deal?
For such a small seed, chia seeds contain some important nutrients.
Chia seeds are rich in fibre – which helps you feel full and staves off hunger and snack cravings. A 25g portion of chia seeds contains approximately 9g of fibre. The daily recommended amount of fibre is 30g, so including a 25g portion of chia seeds each day could be a useful contribution. Fibre is important for a healthy digestive system and many omni diets do not reach the recommended target.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, as well as enhancing brain and heart health. Chia seeds contain omega-3 in the plant form.
Chia seeds are relatively high in protein – so are a useful source of plant protein and provide a range of amino acids, particularly for vegetarian and vegan diets.
The combination of fat, protein and fibre means that chia seeds are digested relatively slowly – this provides long, slow release of energy to keep blood-sugar levels stable, which is great for reducing symptoms of anxiety.
By weight, they are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants.
They also contain a good balance of essential amino acids, so our bodies should be able to make use of the protein in them.
On top of this, they’re pretty high in antioxidants – all things considered they’re most definitely worthy of their superfood status.
How should we eat them?
Chia seeds release their nutrients once they’ve been soaked and ground – that’s why they’re most effective when added to a blend! Handy that.